Peter Cole Peter Cole

University of Delaware, Department of Linguistics and Cognitive Science, Newark, DE 19716


Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Deutscher Platz 6, 04103 Leipzig, Germany

Email: pcole at

Peter Cole’s research interests have spanned a broad variety of languages and topics.  Soon after getting his Ph.D. at the University of Illinois, he spent several years at Illinois concentrating on the syntax of contemporary Hebrew. Later, he became interested in the Quechua languages, and wrote a reference grammar of Imbabura Quechua. While he has never lost interest in Hebrew and Quechua, over the last fifteen years he has mostly worked on South East Asian languages, among them local varieties of Malay/Indonesian, Chinese, Toba Batak and Javanese, with a special interest in reflexives and other anaphora, and on question formation and relativization in these languages.

The topic of his dissertation was pronouns, but he has worked on a wide variety of topics ranging from anaphora to child language acquisition. He is currently especially interested in the interaction of voice and anaphora in the Austronesian languages. In addition to syntax, he has written a number of papers on semantics and pragmatics, and is very interested in how the scientific study of language can contribute to cognitive science in general. During the last several years he was involved in a long-term study of the acquisition of Indonesian by children in Jakarta and a cross-dialectal study of Indonesian dialects, both in collaboration with Gabriella Hermon, Tim Mckinnon, Yanti, Uri Tadmor and David Gil. Recent projects include a study of Jambi Malay, carried out in conjunction with Gabriella Hermon, Uri Tadmor, Co-PIs, and Yanti, and a study of the endangered Malayic Languages of Sumatra (Peter Cole and Gabriella Hermon, PIs, Tim Mckinnon and Yanti, Postdoctoral Fellows).  These two projects are collaborations of Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and the University of Delaware, with funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation and MPI EVA.

Peter Cole's Doctoral students include Yael Ziv (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Jon Ortiz Urbina (Universidad de Deusto, Spain), Li-May Sung (National Taiwan University), David Wible (National Central University, Taiwan), Chun-yin Chen (National Taiwan Normal University), James Hye Suk Yoon (University of Illinois), Hideaki Okawa (Kansai Gaidai University), Tonia Bleam (University of Maryland), Christina Tortora (CUNY), Jeffrey Lidz (University of Maryland), Norhaida Aman (National Institute of Education, Singapore), Yassir Tjung (Atma Jaya Catholic University, Indonesia), Yanti (Atma Jaya Catholic University, Indonesia), Nianwen Xue (Brandeis University), Karthik Durvasula (Michigan State University), Timothy Mckinnon (MPI EVA  Jakarta Field Station and University of Delaware) and Anne Peng.

Some Recent Publications
A Reference Grammar of Traditional Jambi Malay (Yanti, Peter Cole, Gabriella Hermon and Uri Tadmor), ca. 700 page manuscript, to be submitted for publication in late 2013.

The Order of Verbal Affixes and Functional Structure in Imbabura Quichua. (Peter Cole and Gabriella Hermon) in Laura Brugé, Anna Cardinaletti, Giuliana Giusti, Nicola Munaro, and Cecilia Poletto (eds.), Functional Heads. Oxford Studies in Comparative Syntax, Oxford University Press: Oxford, to appear 2013.

Object agreement and extraction in Tanjung Pauh Mudik Kerinci Malay.  (Timothy McKinnon, Peter Cole and Gabriella Hermon), Language 87 (4): 715-750, 2011.

Nominalization and case assignment in Quechua.  (Peter Cole and Gabriella Hermon), Lingua 121 (7): 1225-1251, 2011.

The Order of Verbal Affixes and Functional Structure in Imbabura Quichua. Laura Brugé, Anna Cardinaletti, Giuliana Giusti, Nicola Munaro, and Cecilia Poletto (eds.), Functional Heads.  Oxford University Press: Oxford, to appear 2010.

Language expertise:

Hebrew, Quechua, Malay/Indonesian

Link to CV (somewhat out of date)